September 19th, 2023.
Today the Albanese and Andrews governments announced an urgently needed redevelopment of public housing blocks will go ahead thanks to the $3 billion secured by the Greens throughout negotiations on the Housing Australia Future Fund.
The Premier confirmed that the redevelopment was only possible because of the extra $3 billion. Without the funding the Greens secured, key projects such as the one announced today would have been left languishing given Labor’s failure to commit to building enough public, community and affordable homes across the country.
While today’s announcement is a welcome relief to many who have been waiting years for some news about more community homes being built, it has raised some red flags about Labor’s broader social housing program including long delays on key projects such as Gasworks, privatisation and outsourcing of of public housing, and their refusal to guarantee any promised new public housing will be built.
Quotes attributable to Max Chandler-Mather, Australian Greens spokesperson for housing and homelessness
“Pressure works. If it weren’t for the Greens fighting for and winning $3 billion of direct investment in public and community housing, the Premier and Prime Minister wouldn’t be making this announcement today.
“But this announcement is still very light on detail, and Labor needs to guarantee this will remain public housing and won’t involve the sale or leasing of the land to a private entity.
“What is infuriating though is that while Labor knows Victorian renters are about to cop another $1.1 billion worth of rent increases, they continue to refuse to do anything for the one third of this country that rents.
“Unlimited rent increases should be illegal. While there’s no freeze or cap on rents, we’ll see more rental stress and more people pushed into homelessness.
“80 housing organisations told the Prime Minister and Premiers to limit rent increases, and they failed to listen. From now on, every unfair rent increase is on Labor.”
QUOTES ATTRIBUTABLE TO SAMANTHA RATNAM, LEADER OF THE VICTORIAN GREENS.
“Thanks to pressure from the Greens, the State Government is finally giving funding to housing projects that have been languishing for years, but much more needs to be done.
“The question remains why has it taken 3 wasted years, and Greens pressure, for the Premier to even announce he will rebuild these mostly empty homes?
“The Victorian government now needs to commit to rebuilding these homes as 100% public housing to ensure that we address the 125,000 long waiting list that continues to grow in Victoria.
“Meanwhile, there are still tumbleweeds where Victorian Labor’s policy for renters is supposed to be.
“Every day without a rent freeze and rent caps will see more renters pushed to the brink, hit with rent increases they can’t afford, and in some cases evicted.
“There is no answer to the housing crisis without addressing skyrocketing rents.
“Unlimited rent increases should be illegal and it’s the Premier and the Labor Party standing in the way of fair limits on rent increases.”